Monday, March 28, 2011

A monumental weekend....

Well, from a political standpoint, that is. NSW has a new Premier and a new Government. Nothing unexpected there. But what was unexpected was the total drubbing that the NSW Labor Governemtn got in the poll. It was an absolute bloodbath.

I just hope our new Premier uses his newly bestowed power for good. Let's see what he achieves in his first year.

And if Julia thinks there are no Federal repercussions of this poll, I think she's kidding herself. People don't like your lies, Jooolia, no matter how many times your eyes well up during question time.

On other, more prosaic matters (because this blog is not a place for political statements), I am back on the mend after a week of feeling not very nice at all. The ultimate proof I was feeling better: I was back in the kitchen getting my bake back on. A round of scones and some banana and walnut muffins later I finally feel like I am getting back on top of things. Now, just to wait for a nice sunny day so I can tackle some washing...


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh dear indeed!

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last few days (or week, actually). I have been a little unwell over the past week (don't worry - nothing serious!) and posting here on the interwebs hasn't been high on my list of priorities unfortunately. But things seem to be looking up so I hope to get back on the blogging donkey shortly.

Back with more soon!

K xx

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh dear.

I'm sad to report that the Florsheim leopard flats did not fit me. The 41s were too small. The 42s were like flippers on my feet. Big flappy flippers. It was like being Cinderella's stepsisters. Both of them.

So it's back to the drawing board for me. I'm still thinking about the Mius, but they are realistically out of my price range right now.

Perhaps I'll be able to find a pair of these Tory Burch shoes instead when I am in the US?

Decisions, decisions...


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leopard shoes.

It's fair to say I have a bit of a love affair with leopard shoes. However the one thing I have struggled to find is a pair of reasonably priced good quality leopard flats.

But my search might just be over. This morning I spied these beauties in Florsheim. They didn't have my size but they are getting them in for me. They are only $149.95 which isn't bad for good quality flats.

For those not as enamoured with leopard as I, they also come in Zebra and Ebony.

Fingers crossed they fit well!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I've just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I read it in the space of about 36 hours. It was so good, I have just started it again.

I'll set the scene for anyone who hasn't read it: it's London in 1946, and journalist and author Juliet Ashton is searching for her next literary subject. A lauded author of wartime tales, she wants to write something more personal rather than the funny quips her alter ego Izzy Bickerstaff pens for The Spectator, a London paper. The inspiration comes to her when she receives a letter from a man she has never met. By chance, Guernsey resident Dawsey Adams has come into possession of a book Juliet once owned and he writes to her to ask her assistance in finding out more information about the author of the book she once owned.

Based on their mutual love of literature and more specifically, the writer Charles Lamb, they exchange numerous letters and Dawsey starts to tell her about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This society was formed - almost by accident, or perhaps fate - during the Nazi occupation of the island of Guernsey during WWII. Its members are a varied and eccentric bunch of people with interesting personal stories.

Juliet's correspondence with Dawsey eventually extends to all members of the society. Through these letters she learns about the island, it's inhabitants, their intense war-time experiences and the books they love. Entranced by their stories, Juliet decides to make the journey to Guernsey and meet them all in person, not realising that this decision will change her life forever and for the better.

The entire book is written in letter form, mostly between Juliet and the members of the society, her best friend Sophie and Sophie's brother Sidney who is also Juliet's publisher. I have heard from others that they found this letter format quite tedious, however I really enjoyed it. With each new letter, a new nugget of information, a precious new jewel, is revealed. It's a very gentle and interesting way to structure a novel and with the beauty of the words and language it really works. The authors, Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows, capture the essence of the time beautifully.

I won't ruin the ending of the book for anyone but suffice to say I was glad that it finished the way it did. There was a sense of symmetry and fate about the book's culmination - an idea that everything is pre-destined in some way. That a simple letter can bring together a group of people whose lives are made better by each other.

This book is beautiful. It is well written and elegant. The characters all have their own way or writing or speaking. It's lovely and passionate and gorgeous. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I adored it.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is available from Dymocks for $23.99, Book Depository for $12.70 and on Kindle from Amazon for $7.64.


Monday, March 14, 2011

I spy with my little eye....

Look what I found on Pitt Street the other day! It's just around the corner from Hunter Street, in the site where Industrie South Of France was for years until it closed before Christmas.

Looks like Sydney's fair streets will be invaded by Jamie-itis shortly. We ate at Jamie's Italian twice when we were in the UK last year - once at Westfield in London and the other time in Bath where we struggled to find somewhere to eat.. Both times the food was okay - not sensational or particularly wow. They have a tendency to under cook their pasta quite drastically - on both occasions the pasta was the inedible side of al dente. Probably done in an effort to turn the tables over faster I guess. Other than that the flavours were lovely. I have high hopes that at the Australian version the food will be cooked better.

I really like Jamie - I think he has a fundamentally good heart and really loves food. What he does trying to get kids to eat better at school and getting people to change the way they think and feel about food really is a one man revolution. His commitment to teaching underprivileged and wayward kids how to cook and giving them wonderful opportunities is fabulous.

But if the food's no good then it doesn't matter how nice a person he is or how much he does for the world. Fingers crossed the food is fab.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Five things I have learned about New Zealand...

1. No matter what time of year I come here, it's always Cold. I never manage to bring enough - or warm enough - clothes. I'm sitting here, in the middle of the day, wearing a blanket, with the FIRE on. True.

2. The Sticky Buns at Provisions in Arrowtown really are Outrageously Good. Worth the flight here.

3. The view of the sun rising over the Remarkables starts the day off well, no matter how seedy or poorly you are actually feeling.

4. The quality of food at top notch restaurants really is fantastic and the prices are really so much lower than Sydney, despite Queenstown being a Tourist Mecca.

5. It's cliched but the people really are so friendly. However, the cats - not so much.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Ladies, a plate.

New Zealanders are renowned for many things, but among them, their baking reigns supreme: Afghans, Belgian Slice, Louise Cake, hokey pokey... You''l be surprised at the number of fantastic slices, cookies and cakes that come from this small nation. They certainly punch above their weight in the baking stakes.

For a while I have been hearing about a great book of New Zealand baking favourites - Ladies, a Plate. A number of my friends have recommended it and it was on my list of things to try and track down while I am here.

Why is NZ baking so special? Author Alexa Johnson writes about the phenomenon and her book: Many New Zealanders can still recall a time when family cake tins contained a delicious variety of home-made biscuits, slices, fruit loaves and cakes baked each week by mothers, aunts and grandmothers. The contents of the tins brightened children’s lunches, revived them after school, and refreshed friends and visitors at morning and afternoon teatime. Women also baked for suppers and teas at community events in response to the message ‘Ladies, a plate’ – often printed on invitations to attend. Cream-filled sponges, ginger kisses, lamingtons, custard squares, chocolate éclairs, club sandwiches and sausage rolls were just some of the many specialties perfected by New Zealand home bakers. This is a book for anyone who longs to re-create their favourite treats with over 80 easy-to-follow recipes – all of them tried, tested and true.

After reading that, I had no option but to buy the book! I can't wait to get home and try some of the fantastic recipes! An avid collector of community and traditional cookbooks, Alexa also writes about the history of some New Zealand's baking classics, showing how their favourite recipes evolved over time as well as letting you in on the secrets of NZ baking. This fantastic and beautiful cookbook contains over ninety recipes and will be treasured by every kitchen enthusiast.

For Australians, Ladies, a Plate is available from Book Depository for less than $24. A fantastic price for an investment cook book.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The one where Miss Kitty fully deserves a holiday.

Miss Kitty is taking a holiday. A long deserved one. After our Christmas Vacation was cut somewhat short Mr Kitty and I are taking a relaxing break in Queenstown, New Zealand. The scenery here is sublime - we are staying in a beautiful boutique hotel on the edge of Arrowtown and even though the weather is kind of chilly it's heaven. We've got some bookings at great restaurants in the area and I plan on spending some quality time in bed, reading on the couch, absorbing the view and chilling out.

Mr Kitty is going to go walking in the mountains one day and another day he'll tramp Routeburn but other than that we don't have anything planned. We might take a trip up to Wanaka, maybe visit a few wineries... But mostly we'll just r e l a x...

And I'll try and update the blog a little more! The one thing there won't be many of, though, is photos. In the rush to get to the airport yesterday, We left the camera at home. No matter - I'll always have the memories!

Kitty xx